It's true that Monday isn’t the first day that comes to mind when I think of having some time for myself. I’m more likely to spend this particular day tackling mountains of laundry, piles of dishes and otherwise catching up from a busy weekend. So each week, I’ll be making a point to try out a new idea for “me time” and reporting back every Monday, when we all need inspiration the most.
At times, I exercise a lot and with a good amount of consistency. And then there are the other times. You know what I'm talking about, right? The times when life always seems to get in the way. The days are too long, too full and too many other people need to be taken care of . . . and pretty soon, my daily routine slips away and it's all I can do to drag myself to dance class once or twice a week.
Let me tell you up front that I'm great at the excuses. And some of them are actually legitimate. After all, in addition to caring for and teaching my kids during the day, I work as a technical writer at night. Working until 2 or 3AM make it hard enough to drag myself out of bed at 8AM to start our day - much less get up at the crack of dawn to get a workout in first. Evenings prove equally challenging. When school is done for the day, there's still a household to run, dinner to cook, children to care for and - once my husband is home and has taken over - my paying job to do.
I know you get it. You're busy too. So what's a time-starved homeschooling mama to do? This past week, I made my second attempts at "No Excuses Exercise" - 5-6 workouts a week no matter what. My first attempt several weeks ago failed pretty miserably. But this time turned out to be quite a success.
Here's what I think helped this time:
- I put each workout for the week on my schedule, finding the right time for it based on the day's activities. I like structure, so I used to give up completely if I couldn't work out at the same time every day. Unfortunately, my late nights and Jim's occasional early mornings don't always allow for this. But being flexible - yet still having a plan - seems to be the key.
- I was more realistic with my goals. About a year ago, I purchased the P90X DVDs. I loved them, but I couldn't figure out how to do 60-90 minutes of P90X a day in addition to my existing commitments to dance and running. This time, I'm aiming for three P90X workouts a week and am substituting the cardio I'm already doing (running, swimming and biking) for his two weekly cardio workouts. Plus, I'm not a fan of his yoga, so I'm subbing a yoga DVD I love so that I'll look forward to it each week.
- This time, I decided that this commitment to myself is just as important than any I typically make (and follow through on) for family or friends. I wouldn't back out and let them down, and I'm not going to let myself down either.
Over the years, I'd fooled myself into believing that it was okay to let exercise slip down to the bottom of the priority list - that my other responsibilities were more important. But deep down I knew that wasn't true, and I'm ready to make excuses a thing of the past.